Neta Crawford discusses her work on the Costs of War project, which tries to assess the costs, in both lives and dollars, of America’s wars in the Middle East. The project has estimated the 500 thousand have been killed due to combat, which includes American soldiers, enemy combatants, and civilians. It doesn’t include what’s known as “excess deaths,” meaning civilians who die from deprivation, lack of medical care, and destroyed or degraded infrastructure as a result of the war. These deaths are even harder to measure because they rely on survey data, which Crawford’s project does not use. The project also does not include Syria, Yemen, or Lybia. As a result these numbers are extremely conservative. Her work has also estimated the cost of these wars at over 5 trillion dollars, which includes money already spent, money that’s been promised to programs for veterans, and estimates for interest payments on the money the government has borrowed to finance the wars.

Discussed on the show:

Neta Crawford is chair of the Political Science Department at Boston University. She is the author of Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America’s Post-9/11 Wars. Follow her project on Twitter @CostsOfWar.

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